Collaborative Intelligence in Large or Growing Organizations

February 17, 2006 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

Arik Johnson (of AuroraWDC) and I developed a workshop on Collaborative Early Warning. We cover a range of topics from "the Wisdom of Crowds" to how to apply Jan Herring's Key Information Topic protocols to the early warning process. We then break into a teams to review a business case and conduct a war gaming exercise.

At the SCIP 2006 Competitive Intelligence conference this April, Derek (Arik's brother and COO) and I will lead the workshop. In the runup to the event Derek and I wrote and SCIP's Competitive Intelligence magazine published our article January / February 2006 | Collaborative Early Warning.

The article covers a lot of bases. One of the key points is that small organizations are really good at capturing and considering competitive intelligence in their decision making process. Jerry Miller's research showed that organizations like Hot Sauce Harry's, The Chocolate Vault, and Circle Z are some of the best when it comes to CI.

Our article points out that as organizations get large, they don't lose their sense of the market, rather, the sensing task becomes so large and distributed that it simply breaks down. Individuals will hoard information, not necessarily because "information is power" but because individuals:

  • Don’t want to bother colleagues.
  • Don’t recognize the value of their information.
  • Don’t have anywhere to write it down.
  • Don’t want to violate departmental or other management boundaries which may dictate for whom it is appropriate to speak about what.
  • Don’t see the act of sharing information as a part of management objectives so it appears as a waste of time and energy.
  • Don't have a means to be recognized for their contribution.

In practice, enterprise blogs solve these problems. A well deployed system opens up a multi-way channel between intelligence groups and the "sensors" who may range from sales to support, product management, and the CEO. 13 June 2005 | Dark Blogs Case Study #1 - A European Pharmaceutical Group makes a very good case for this outcome.

A well defined system identifies the issues which need to be watched, recognize contributors for their efforts, and clearly support organizational goals.